Over The Fence


Over the fence –

Strawberries – grow –

Over the fence –

I could climb – if I tried, I know –

Berries are nice!

But – if I stained my Apron –

God would certainly scold!

Oh, dear – I guess if He were a Boy –

He’d – climb – if He could!

 Emily Dickinson

One of the many advantages of living in this small but richly cultured New England town, is the pride we feel for the historical and notable individuals who made a mark in this community and in the world.

From Robert Frost who taught at Amherst College and retired here; to Noah Webster from our handy dictionary; to the oscar nominated,  Uma Thurman; to Richard Gere who attended Umass; to the 1st Baron Amherst, Lord Jeffrey Amherst who the town is named after; to being the home of the Eric Carle Museum and the home of the only Frank Lloyd Wright design in Massachusetts; home to Running with Scissors author, Augusten Burroughs; to the town being named the most progressively liberal region in the United States; and most famous for hosting the Dickinson Homestead, home of the famous poet and her family.  

A few weeks ago, my husband took me on somewhat of a “romantic stroll” through this wonderful town where we reside.  Next thing I know, I am walking through a cemetery.  Not just any cemetery, but the infamous West Cemetery, where Ms. Dickinson and her family eternally rest.

It turns out that on this day, the historical and original fencing constructed in the mid 19th century surrounding the Dickinson family plot, was in the finishing stages of being restored.  The Historical Commission had received Community Preservation Act funds for this project.

Our timing could not have been better.  The new shiny and restored fence was complete and stood proud and erect,  its freshly coat of paint glistening against the hot August sun, dutifully doing its job of protecting the Dickinson’s final resting place. 

I got chills as I stood in silence staring at the plot and taking in all the history that lay in this cemetery.

Old eroded fencing. googlemaps

Old eroded fencing. googlemaps

New fencing:

20130907_171039_resized 20130907_171010_resized 20130907_170940_resized 20130907_171208 20130907_171018 20130907_170952


Proud to be living in this unique little town.

14 thoughts on “Over The Fence

  1. Love the poem and the grave yard pics. I read a poem of hers once in my youth that I have thought of many times over the decades. Something about having to be careful with light, that while a bit of light will illuminate, too much will blind. Looks like a cool little town you’ve got there. 🙂


  2. How awesome! I’ve always been a Dickinson fan. My fave?

    This is my letter to the world,
    That never wrote to me,-
    The simple news that Nature told,
    With tender majesty.

    Her message is committed
    To hands I cannot see;
    For love of her, sweet countrymen,
    Judge tenderly of me!


    1. Thanks, Jill. We all often take things for granted and not make the time to really appreciate what we have right in our own back yards. I dragged my kids with me when they were in elementary school, on the Emily Dickinson Homestead tour and they actually enjoyed it and still talk about it.


      1. You’re right, Maria. I grew up in the Washington, D.C. area and I only took advantage of the museums and monuments when we had out of town guests. Now that I’m in Charlotte, I’m dying to spend the day at a museum. If I ever make it up your way, I hope you’ll give me a tour of Emily Dickinson’s Homestead…so cool!


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